Coming fresh off of gaining their 18th victory of the season, the Colorado Avalanche played host to the visiting New Jersey Devils (25-29-12) tonight.
A few days ago, the Avs were able to play a complete game and defeat the Carolina Hurricanes a final score of 3-1. In the game, the Avs looked like a completely different team as they were able to put the puck on net at will, and utilize their speed to create opportunities for themselves.
In the first period of this game against the Devils, we saw the same type of play from this Avalanche squad where the team would utilize their speed to be the first ones to the puck, and take shots whenever they have the opportunity. The Avs would continue moving their feet, and remain disciplined to allow the Devils to take penalties, but unfortunately the Avs would not be able to convert with a powerplay goal two separate man advantages after the Devils had received a roughing call, and a too many men on the ice call.
The Avs and Devils would finish the first period of play tied at zero, but the most impressive statistic would be that the Avs were able to hold their opponent to only three shots throughout the entire period.
While watching this game, there was something that we have been missing this entire season.. some fire!
We finally got that in the second period, as there was a group who would gather in front of both team benches that would include Rene Bourque, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Fedor Tyutin, and even Tyson Barrie. Definitely some uncommon customers (minus Landy), but this would continue throughout the entirety of the second period. Heck, we even saw the Avs clear out the front of the net after the whistle, something that has been missing all season long.
The Avs would break the tie scoreless game, as Tyson Barrie would carry the puck up the side boards, cycle it back up to MacKinnon who took his spot at the blue line. After getting the puck from Barrie, MacKinnon would snap a quick low shot that would find its way past Cory Schneider to give the Avs the 1-0 lead over the Devils.
In the middle frame, Barrie was showing just how valuable he can be for the Avs. He was doing a good job at being physical to remove the Devils forwards off of the puck, and he also producing offensive pressure, one which resulted in the Avs gaining the lead.
Even at the end of the second period, the Avs would continue to play hard until even in the dying seconds. This has been a rare sight this season, as most of the time the Avs will stop playing and allow that clock to wind down.
Heading into the third period, I only had the hope that the Avs would continue to play another solid 20 minutes, and not fall suspect to another third period meltdown.
Unfortunately, things would start getting nasty for the Avs as they would fall victim to an equalizing goal in the finale frame as Taylor Hall would find a wide open rebound, and put it into the back of the net past Calvin Pickard.
However, the Avs would gain the lead back with a little hard work from the third line. Sven Andrighetto would get his second point in an Avs sweater, as he would feed Rene Bourque a pass into the slot, where Bourque would snap the puck past Schneider to give the Avs the 2-1 lead.
Things would get a little more interesting, as the Devils would be able to once again equalize the game as Beau Bennett would carry the puck behind the net, and give Stefan Noesen a smooth past at the back post to get the puck past Pickard.
Things would go back and forth until the last 1:14 of the third period, where finally the Avs would break even as Francois Beauchemin would pinch to keep the puck in the Devils zone, and would snap the puck on net where it would find its way over Schneider’s shoulder to give the Avs the late 3-2 lead late in the final frame.
The Avs would hold onto get the 3-2 victory, to win their second straight. They will be looking to win their third game in a row on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.